Hiring top talent in a competitive market

It’s a candidate market right now! How are you closing your candidates quickly without losing your top talent? 

Over the last few months I have seen an uptick in open positions all over the country, the unemployment rates are down and companies are serious about hiring top talent.  In the world of RPO this is music to our ears; it keeps us on our toes and allows us to use some of those new sourcing techniques we have been trying to perfect. That being said, it also poses some challenges.  We can’t close candidates fast enough! If it’s more than two weeks from interview to offer we are seeing:  counter offers, the loss of the top choice candidate, and larger than normal salary negotiations (if they are your top choice candidate, then they are more than likely someone else’s, as well).  Below are some of the things the People Science team is doing to retain top talent and provide our customers and candidates with the best experience we can. [optinlocker]

Setting the expectations around the interview process is key. Every company is different when it come to the interview process.  Make sure you it is clear to a candidate what to expect next in the process, as well as providing estimates around how long everything will take. If you know your hiring manager is going to take a week to get back to you, let your candidates know you will not have an update for at least a week so they know you have not forgotten about them.  If you know the next step is a panel interview with 6 people on it, let your candidates know so they can prep and explain why the interview process is done this way.  Follow up as much as possible. (I use my CRM HireGate, but you can use your calendar to set reminders).  Even if you don’t have an update from a manager for the candidate, let them know that you are still waiting for additional information and that you are checking in with the manager that day.  If you get the feeling that you are losing a candidate or they are getting impatient, I strongly encourage you to pick up the phone and just chat with them, listen to them to see if there is anything you can do to put them as ease.  Remember, you are the professional and sometimes reassurance is all a candidate needs.

Building a relationship that holds trust and value with your candidates. Whenever interviewing a candidate I am open with the salary range, value propositions and mission of the company.  I have little time to waste and I’m sure my candidates feel the same, so I like to get that out of the way upfront.  No sense in talking to a candidate for 30 minutes just to find out they are 50K out of range for the position.  Be personable, talk to your candidates about life, not just their resume.  Sometimes the most important question I ask candidates isn’t a behavioral question or a question about their resume – it’s not even work related.  I ask the candidates what is most import to you in your next position. Is it money, location, benefits, work/life balance, company culture?   This question really throws people for a loop, but you’re going to need this answer later when you are offering your candidates. Finding out what holds value to a candidate will allow you to talk to that topic and explain how the position they are interviewing for, or the company they are interviewing with, will provide your candidate with what they need to be happy and successful. If your candidates trust you, then they will be honest and you will be able to work together to close their offer and get them boarded quickly.

There is really not time to waste when your candidate is a top contender in a competitive market. Hiring managers don’t recruit full time and can’t always make you and your candidates a priority. Push your managers to make decisions quickly and let them know if your candidates are interviewing other places. This way there are no surprises when there is a counter offer or your candidate accepts another position that made it to the offer stage faster than you were able to.

By Lindsey Roundtree | People Science CSM



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